Trade Sep-Oct Interactive - page 15

German American Trade Sep/Oct 2013
15
S P O T L I G H T S
with the company,” says Subasi. Not
only is it possible to fire people in the
US in record time – employees often
resign quickly as well if they are
offered more money at another
company.
Volkswagen invested US$40 million
in a new Training Academy at the
Chattanooga plant. ”For centuries
German companies have provided
comprehensive vocational training to
ensure the development of a skilled
workforce of tomorrow and it is very
inspiring to see Volkswagen Chatta-
nooga continue this tradition here in
the U.S.,” added Stellmaszek. “Train-
ing programs like this will most
certainly have a positive impact on
local economies and communities.”
It is becoming increasingly popular to
bank on solid training rather than on
making a quick buck. The biggest
advocate of the dual vocational
training system is Barack Obama:
Several times, the President of the
United States has called on companies
to start a rethinking process – all the
while praising the German model.
”These German kids are ready for the
job the moment they graduate from
the training,” he says. In his opinion,
the dual system promises a better
qualification than theoretical lessons
alone. It stems from a somber
background that Obama sends
members of his administration to
Chattanooga on a regular basis so
they can witness the dual system for
themselves: While economic data is
starting to look more positive, the
nation’s unemployment rate is still
relatively high. In a country, in which
the unemployed used to quickly find a
new job, long-term unemployment
threatens to consolidate. That is
probably another reason why German
companies are more popular than ever
with Obama. Not only do they create
new jobs in the US but they also offer
solid training. It is not surprising that
Obama mentioned Siemens several
times in his State of the Union
address. The carmakers BMW in South
Carolina and MBUSI in Alabama also
see regular government visits.
"The training is demanding. In
addition, it is not easy to live on a
trainee salary for three years," says
Windy Scott. "But it is well worth it. It
gives you the satisfying feeling to be
needed in the long run."
August 13, 2013 was a very special
day. Volkswagen Chattanooga
celebrated the inaugural graduation
class of 12 trainees of the Automation
Mechatronics Program. “I want to
thank Volkswagen for establishing
this valuable program, and I applaud
all of the academy graduates on their
achievement,” Tennessee Governor
Bill Haslam said.
“Volkswagen Chattanooga is commit-
ted to the development of our
workforce, and are proud that our
students are the first Americans to be
certified by the German Chambers of
Commerce in Mechatronics,” said
Sebastian Patta, Vice President of
Human Resources. “Volkswagen
understands that a well-trained
workforce that produces high quality
products creates further economic
prosperity for all.”
All trainees passed their final exam
and have guaranteed jobs at the
plant with an annual salary starting
at $40,000.
n
Translated from German
by Sandy Jones, GACC
Martina Stellmaszek, President and
CEO of the German American Chamber
of Commerce of the Southern U.S.
at the Inauguration
Class of 2013 of the Volkswagen Group of America, Chattanooga Operations
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